As we hurtled through the pitch black of a moonless night, the street lights and neon signs of a sleeping San Francisco gave way to imprints and patterns that bled into the moving images of my mind, both haunting and enlivening – forms that cavorted their dancing before me, as though I were staring into the eye of an elaborate cosmic zoetrope. The very space around us felt alive – responsive and alert.
‘This is a very strange place…’ I said, with a tone of authority I was quite unused to possessing. ‘I feel quite alive. It’s almost? I don’t know.’ I hesitated. Perhaps for our mute but listening driver – though more through fear of arrogance, for fear of pride before a fall, that these uncharted terrors, these psychological seas I have roamed – might not be over yet.
‘Fun, isn’t it? Having your eyes open!’ he said, warmly but sarcastically, and then he assured, ‘It’s not vanity to be aware of your ego, Bumper. It’s the opposite. It’s humility.’ I turned to look into the eyes of my new husband using my pet name from the jelly babies, and reaching out across the leather seating of our pelting ride, I entwined my little finger with his. ‘Something strange has happened to us. Don’t you think, Stuart…?’ I asked.
‘Don’t fight it. Your mind should not follow every why’, he said, kindly but definite and strong. Just how a man should be. Knowing his soul – his blood and flesh was a masterpiece to me – and admiring how our wedding rings on our clasped hands caught the passing light, I breathed with him in a silent dialogue we two souls developed over best part of two decades. His right cheekbone, the high collar of his shirt and the profile of his glorious cupids bow caught these passing illuminations. His right iris glimmered ardent knowings, having, or keeping, all of the answers I had ever sought from the far side of things.
With each sparkle and glint, each flash and trace – the birth of a new galaxy of dreams and times came alive in our love, in the eternity that was now our bonded and welded, we, our us, our, one.
‘Finally being fully conscious, of my injuries,’ I said, ‘… of what’s actually happened to me…’ I could not finish the sentence.
‘Your injuries are what have made you,’ he said, ‘and how you’re healing furthermore…’
‘My injuries are now my route to freedom?’ I asked, interrupting rhetorically. Pulling my hand away, turning to stare back into the zoetrope. Yes, I believed it.
‘What’s up… what’s the matter?’ he asked already knowing the reason.
I looked at him with the gratitude of five-year-old eyes, like he had saved me from drowning and he broke into the smile he reserves for me alone.
‘You’ve done it. Yes,’ he said, ‘all you, you’ve reclaimed your life and I couldn’t be more proud of my brave and talented little Bumper.”
Eighteen years into our relationship, loved and protected every each day – he could still stir my subconscious, awaken my mind, every inch as much as he still surprised me, aroused my loins, and always gives my heart the light palpitation of thrill, as though we had only just met that night.
‘I am done chasing empty idols!’ I said, and I couldn’t have meant it more.
‘You are the key’, he said, ‘it’s always been you. You deserve to have a voice Bumpy Monkey, and you’re going to use it.’
I had sought it all along, this magical undoing – to learn the profound truths that billow and wave across the timelines of my life and psyche. I almost congratulated myself. This is what I had confused with that fleeting feeling of arrogance – survivors will always struggle with happiness, worth and all else besides, but here it was, and not with conviction and clarity alone, but tangibility, spirituality, purpose and depth. More depth than most people are ready for.
The reasons for my constant writings, both public and private, and all my art – now made sense beyond the conceited or the self-indulgent. I am no saint nor angel, hell I can be self-absorbed, spoiled, and I can be avoidant – but I am kind, passionate, creative, and intuitive. I am thoughtful and fun and now completely able to be myself after what manifested here against the the surreal and haunting backdrop of San Francisco, where the moral and spiritual lessons of my traumas opened up like a lotus bloom, in a city that knows all too well about the human condition when it pushes through the muck. This place can empower minds with delicate new awakenings. My taste was now of an ambition to speak evil’s name, and achieve something that all abusers fear – the strength to speak up and say, no more. Even if that meant summoning up the fortitude to walk away from my entire bloody family. For out of the many things that I am, whatever I have been, and whoever I am now – I will always be a living survivor of base and prolonged childhood psychological and sexual abuse, and it is only in speaking its name that I can be set free to begin again, because the shame is no longer ours to carry when we have a survivors strength, awareness and the reclamation that comes with it.
“How many sorrowsAnnie Lennox / David Allan Stewart
Do you try to hide
In a world of illusion
That’s covering your mind?”
Love wins over shame! Happy first wedding anniversary to my incredible man of 15 years. We both give thanks and eternal gratitude, to our amazing American friends who came out of starlight – offering our souls a shamanic ceremony in the magical hills of Malibu. It was beautiful beyond expression and saved, renewed and blessed my life in ways that are taking us forward exponentially. I personally, will never be the same again… and, three cheers for THAT miracle! Thank you, thank you, thank you ❤